Downloadable Template · Introduction · Why PowerPoint? · Requirements · Creating a New Slide · Sizing the Poster
Saving · Poster Backgrounds · Titles · Text Boxes · Font and Font Size · Images · Tables
AutoShapes · Lines · Image Alignment · Saving for Print
Note: Items in parentheses denote changes in PowerPoint 2008 from 2003 version.
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Feel free to download this example poster template to use as a start. Notice the alignment and uniformity of text box formatting, the light colors, and the font sizes. However, we highly encourage you to make changes to the template so that it is unique.
This course is designed to assist you in creating eye-catching effective posters for presentation of research findings at scientific conferences and exhibits. Participants will create 36” x 48” posters from scratch by learning how to choose and create backgrounds, insert text, learn proper font styles and sizes, as well as insert and manipulate photos, graphs and tables. You will also align and balance all components of the poster and use color and shapes to add a final touch to your poster.
Posters need to be created and designed in a style that best communicates your message in a visual manner so that the viewer can quickly discern ideas. A successful poster presents you and your work clearly and professionally while providing a good opportunity to make contacts and receive feedback.
We will focus on the use of PowerPoint for poster creation for several reasons:
- Microsoft PowerPoint and Office programs are widely available on faculty computers and in publiclabs
- Many people are familiar with the program from creating presentations
- PowerPoint has a user friendly interface that allows for easy editing
- PowerPoint is cross-platform compatible and works with other common Office applications (Word, Excel, Access, etc.)
- Presentations that have been created in PowerPoint can be quickly adapted to a poster
For our printing services, we do allow posters to be submitted that have been created with other software packages, such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.
- Text: Your text can be typed in a word processing program or directly in the slide. It is important for printing purposes to use only "system" fonts like Times New Roman that are widely available.
- Graphics: These are visual representations on your posters that could include charts, graphs, logos, pictures or drawings. Graphics can also be created in many different programs and imported into PowerPoint. Photos and slides can be scanned and saved as files to be placed into a PowerPoint slide.
- Poster Guidelines from the Conference: Size limitations, portrait or landscape format, title placement, font size, poster number placement, etc.
- When PowerPoint first opens, you should be presented with a New Presentation. If PowerPoint is already open, then you may need to open a new presentation by going to the menu bar, selecting File and clicking on New or New Presentation. (File >> Project Gallery >> PowerPoint Presentation)
- It is preferable to begin with a blank slide, so if there are any objects placed in the slide (i.e. ”Click to add title”), you may select the text box and delete it.
- Under the File menu, choose Page Setup.
- In the Slide sized for pop-up, select Custom.
- Type in the width and height of the poster. We will be creating a poster that is 36” x 48”. Please note that you are free to create a poster of smaller dimensions.
- At this point, you can also determine the layout of your poster, landscape or portrait.
- Click OK continue working on your slide
If you changed the page size after creating the poster, be sure to go back and verify the layout. Note that any image inserted in the slide will now be scaled disproportionally due to the change in page size. Be sure to fix each image by selecting Format in the menu bar, clicking on Picture, and on the Size tab. Make sure the scale percentage is the same for both height and width (i.e 100% width and 100% height).
- It is good precaution to save your poster often. To save the poster, go to the File menu and click Save to save the presentation file to the appropriate location. It may also benefit you to give the file a name that is easily recognizable.
- To have PowerPoint guard against losses and to save automatically:
- In Mac OS - Go to the File menu and select Preferences (PowerPoint tab >> Preferences). In Windows - Go to the Tools menu and select Options.
- Select the Save tab, check the Allow fast saves box.
- Additionally, click the Save AutoRecover info every __ minutes.
- Enter a time between 10-15 minutes. This should then save your document in the case of power loss or other error.
One of the wonderful features of PowerPoint is its options for backgrounds. A couple of quick tips, however. A background should not detract from the content of the rest of the poster. Therefore, the colors should be soft and fit with the rest of the poster. Gradient colors should be light to lighter or dark to darker. Pale color as a background can be unifying to your poster. Neutral backgrounds enhance and promote material that is placed on top. Grays and pastels can also be unifying while remaining in the background.
- To place a background on a poster, go to the Format menu, and select Slide Background.... The Background menu will appear on your screen.
- Texture is most often the background of choice, with lighter "earthy" colors being most popular. Select the texture you like and click Apply to set the background.
The poster title is the first level of communication with the viewer. It should clearly communicate the essence of your poster, be readable from 15 feet away, and be made of bold print.
If your title text includes subscripts, superscripts, or individual words that are italicized, you will need to create your title in a text box. Type the text of your title, then go to the Format menu and clicking Font. From here you will be able to select a style for your selected text.
- Click the Text Box on the Draw menu, or go to the Insert, and click on Text Box.
- With the cursor, draw a box on the screen, with the upper left corner placed where you want your text to begin. The box has “handlebars” on it to allow you to adjust the size and shape of the text box. Begin typing your text. After typing a line or two, grab the handlebar on the right and bring it in to make your text box the width you desire. To make another text box with the same font characteristics, click the hatched edge of the box, then go to the Edit menu, and select 'duplicate'. The text box will duplicate. Highlight the text, delete, and begin typing new text. All font sizes, etc. will be the same as the original text box.
- Text can be quickly adjusted using the Formatting Toolbar (Under Font tab in Formatting Palette). Select all text to be adjusted by using the left mouse key and dragging it over all text in the textbox needing adjustment. To quickly adjust the font size, use the large “A”, little “A” buttons.
- Justification of the text can be quickly adjusted using these buttons. Left justified, centered, and right justified. Justified text (like newspapers) can be obtained by clicking the Format menu, then Alignment, then select Justify (Alignment and Spacing tab).
- Select the text you want to change.
- Click on the Format menu and select Font, then clicking a font name in the Font Box. In the Formatting Toolbar, again click on a font name in the Font Box.
- Do not use nonstandard fonts as they may not be on the computer that is used to print your poster.
- Select the text you want to change.
- Click on the Format menu and select Font, then clicking a font size in the Font Box. The font size should be 72 to 150 pixels in the title and no less than 32 pixels in the main text. In the Formatting Toolbar, again click on a new size in the Font Box.
Graphics are central to your poster. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Slides, Photographs, and drawings which you do not have in a digital format can be scanned and saved as a graphic file. We encourage you to save the file as a high resolution JPEG. The JPEG format tends to save the most information, and is compatible with many programs. It is important that you scan your images in at the size you need them to be printed out. It is best to scan images at 150 dpi (dots per inch). If you want to display an image at a larger size that the original, use higher dpi. Increasing the dpi to 300 or 600 does not make a noticeable difference in the printed image. Take a look at the images below, each scanned at 2”x3” but at different dpi. Notice the files sizes of each. The larger the file, the more difficult it is to transport and back up.
You can use Word or Microsoft Excel to create a table. Microsoft Excel and Word can automatically format the table for you.
- For a table you can easily include in a PowerPoint poster, use Word.
- For a table that includes complex graphics formatting (such as bulleted lists, custom tabs, numbering, hanging indents, individual cell formatting, and cells split diagonally) use Word.
- For a table that includes complex calculations, statistical analysis, or charts, use Microsoft Excel.
To insert a table
- Copy the table from the program you used.
- In PowerPoint, in the Edit menu, select Paste Special, then select Picture. This imports the file in as a graphic file. It cannot be manipulated or changed because it is not linked to the original. If you just Paste in table into PowerPoint, you can double click it and it will allow you to change data in the table, but when printed, we find that text tends to move around and the tables may change appearance. A graphic file is better for printing purposes.
PowerPoint comes with a set of ready-made shapes you can use in your posters. The shapes can be resized, rotated, flipped, colored, and combined with other shapes to make more complex shapes. The AutoShapes menu on the Drawing toolbar contains several categories of shapes, including lines, connectors, basic shapes, flowchart elements, stars and banners, and callouts. You can add text to AutoShapes by just clicking in the shape and typing. Added text becomes part of the shape. Many have an adjustment handle (a yellow diamond) that can be used to change a special aspect of a shape.
When text is attached to an AutoShape, such as a callout or flowchart symbol, you can change the position of the text, change the shape of the object to fit the text, make the text wrap in the object, or change the amount of space between the text and the edge of the object. To attach your text to an object, click the object and type the text. Note: You can also use the same procedures to position, align, and space text that was added by using the Text Box tool on the Drawing Toolbar.
To Add a Line:
- Click AutoShapes in the Drawing Toolbar, point to Lines, and the click the line style you want.
- Draw to drag the line. To constrain the line to draw at 15 degree angles from its starting point, hold down shift as you drag. To lengthen the line in opposite directions from the first end point, hold down ctrl as you drag.
To Change the Color of a Line:
- Select the object you want to change.
- On the Drawing Toolbar, click the arrow next to Line Color (Formatting Palette tab under Colors, Weights, Fills).
To Change the Style of a Line or Border:
- Select the object you want to change.
- On the Drawing Toolbar, click Line Style (Formatting Palette tab under Colors, Weights, Fills).
- Click the style you want, or click More Lines and then click a style.
You can align objects relative to other objects and can also distribute them evenly.
- Select the objects you want to align, this may include text boxes, graphics.
- On the Drawing Toolbar, click Draw, select Align or Distribute, and then click any one of the alignment options (Formatting Palette tab >> Size, Rotation & Ordering >> Ordering, Align or Distribute).
Save your final poster to a separate file and make sure you make a backup on another disk.
- On the File menu, click Save As.
- Enter a new name for the poster and use a name that is descriptive of the poster.
- Make sure you check the Embed TrueType option if it is available. This will assure that your fonts will be printed.